The English National Ballet has launched its national Dance for Parkinson’s programme at Merseyside Dance Initiative, with the aim of giving local people the opportunity to benefit from weekly dance classes and to see the company perform Nutcracker at the Empire Theatre later this month.
ENB and Hope Street’s MDI say they share a vision towards the power of dance to inspire and enrich the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
The successful Dance for Parkinson’s programme has comprised weekly dance classes, theatre visits and special glimpse behind-the-scenes events in London since 2010; with funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the programme has recently expanded to Oxford, and is now followed by Liverpool.
Underpinning the programme is ground-breaking research about the positive physical and social benefits of Dance for Parkinson’s, led by Dr. Sara Houston from University of Roehampton. Ongoing research until 2014 will investigate the experience of dancing with Parkinson’s by gathering feedback from participants and measuring physical changes.
Participants have reported enjoying the exercise and music, meeting others and having fun. “One person told me it had ticked his feeling good box and said he had forgotten he had Parkinson’s for two hours,” said Fleur Derbyshire-Fox, director of learning at ENB.
There is a taster session at MDI on Thursday November 14. Rachel Rogers, project development manager explained: “Taster sessions are a great way to try out a Dance for Parkinson’s class and are a fun way to meet new friends, and to discover the themes, music and choreography from English National Ballet’s repertoire.”
Regular weekly classes start on Thursday January 23. For further information contact MDI on 0151 708 8810 or at mdi.org.uk.
Fleur Derbyshire-Fox added: “We are proud to be partnering with Merseyside Dance Initiative, one of the UK’s leading dance organisations, to roll out our national Dance for Parkinson’s programme. English National Ballet and Merseyside Dance Initiative share a commitment and vision to raise the profile of dance for people with Parkinson’s and to increase access to high quality Dance for Parkinson’s classes and cultural activities.”